Ways to Solve a Common Problem

Does your lower back feel tight and ache? You’re not alone. An estimated 80% of Americans will experience low back pain in their lifetime. Luckily, there are many effective ways to manage mild to moderate low back pain. With the proper exercises you can even prevent it from happening in the first place.

Tried-and-True Tips Coming Up!

If you just want a few ideas to feel better quick, you’ve come to the right place. Of course, everyone’s background, lifestyle, and health condition are different – so not all tips will apply to you. We hope you enjoy this information on how to alleviate or prevent your aches and pains.

First: Why Does my back Hurt?

FACTORS THAT MAY PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR BACK PAIN:

Biological factors

  • Irritating (noxious) stimulus
  • Muscle guarding - muscle spasm and hypertonicity
  • Increased inflammation - decreased blood/lymphatic flow
  • Muscle inhibition - weakness and instability

Psychological factors

  • Irritability - anger
  • Worry - sadness
  • Helplessness

Social factors

  • Isolation
  • Changes in relationship
  • Changes in environment

Whether your back pain is caused by sitting more due to a new work schedule, picking something up, or even eating something that didn’t agree with you, being in pain has major functional implications. As a result, these limitations further cause you pain.

So, how do I stop my back from hurting?

The simple answer is identifying and addressing the limitations that keep you from participating in your normal activities. This is often easier said than done.

Think about pain as a memory. When you have back pain you remember it. Part of the solution is to perform activities with your back that are pain free. In time these movements will create new memories around all the activities you are free to participate in. Instead of associating your back with pain, you will learn and remember that your back is pain free.

Where do I start?

The most practical way to break the cycle of pain and immobility is focused breathing in a pain-free position.

First find a pain-free position.

This usually requires a little self discovery and everyone responds to different positions. Often, we use this 90-90 position with your feet against a wall or on a chair. You can also try putting a pillow under your head.

Before Image After Image

Then perform one of these breathing exercises

Working on full exhalation

Summary:

  1. Slowly exhale through your open mouth
  2. Hold at the end of your exhale 3-5 seconds
  3. Inhale slowly through your nose
  4. Again slowly exhale through your mouth, each time focus on exhaling more and more air
  5. Repeat 3-5 times

Working on inhaling into your intra-abdominal pressure

Summary:

  1. Slowly exhale fully through your open mouth
  2. Hold at the end of your exhale 3-5 seconds, do you feel your abs? (esp lower abs/pelvic floor)
  3. Inhale quietly through your nose. Focus on breathing into the ab tension you felt (in step 2).
  4. Again slowly exhale fully through your mouth. Each time focus on exhaling more air and building more abdominal tension
  5. Repeat 3-5 times

OK I got the breathing thing down, now what do I do

Next let’s work on some fundamental movements that will restore your ability to move pain free while being active. Remember, these exercises might not be appropriate for you with where you are right now. If you are experiencing pain with any of these movements, stop doing the activity and consult a professional for help.

First perform 8-10 reps of this:

Then perform 10 reps of this:

Immediately followed by:

5 slow breaths each leg of this

Once you have these movements down, you can progress to some more complicated activities

Try:

10 reps slow of

Immediately followed by:

10 reps of

You can progress these once they get easy with:

10 reps slow of this

Immediately followed by:

5-6 breaths of this

Then to finish:

Perform this Croc Breathing exercise, it’s great.

Help for Deeper Issues

Sometimes, self care and a healthy movement routine simply aren’t enough to fix what hurts. Chronic conditions, old injuries acting up, and many complex ailments may benefit from expert help.

 

Is it Time to Turn to the Pros?

Persistent lower back pain can affect your quality of life, even your mental health. Seeing an expert can really help you feel better faster, prevent future injuries, and improve chronic pain.

 

When to Call an Expert

A few sessions with a therapist may be just what you need to get back on track. And the good thing is, you don’t need a doctor’s referral. Your licensed therapist will let you know if they discover an issue that requires a doctor’s care.

Types of Therapy

Orthopedic Physical Therapy

An orthopedic physical therapist will evaluate your unique physiology and the issues affecting you. They will use that information to create tailored workouts and treatments just for you.

 

Pelvic Physical Therapy

Maybe the cause of your chronic back pain isn’t easy to identify or treat. If you have generalized discomfort in the entire area, you may need help from a pelvic physical therapist, who is trained to understand any issues related to the body’s core.

 

Softwave Therapy

If your problem is localized to certain muscles and tendons in the lower back (soft tissues), SoftWave Therapy can be a great way to banish the backaches. This is a newer therapy that uses acoustic waves to heal you on a cellular level.

 

Massage Therapy

How about one or more sessions of a relaxing massage to soothe your tense muscles? Massage therapy by a licensed practitioner doesn’t just make you feel good: it improves blood flow to an injured or sore area, helping it heal.

A Tip for Weekend Warriors

It’s only human to want to achieve visible results in the shortest available time, but this can lead to rushing into workouts that you are not yet ready for. Preventing injury starts with awareness of your body’s limits, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. If preventing pain while working out is your goal, a personal trainer can set you up to reach your fitness goals safely and reliably.

Say Bye to Backaches

There are many causes of back pain and finding the right type of relief isn’t always easy. If you need help treating your low back pain and live in Gainesville or surrounding areas, Gainesville Wellness and Performance is happy to assist you in moving pain free.

A Word of Caution

If you have severe and/or sudden low back pain – for example: after a fall or accident – call your doctor. You may need to get screened for fractures or other serious injuries. Similarly, pain that endures for weeks or comes with unusual symptoms can be a sign of an underlying condition and should probably be checked out by a physical therapist. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.